Yaowarat Road, Wat Tramit, Chinatown
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Tight, busy and no place like it, Chinatown.
Chinatown is an old business center covering a large area around Yaowarat and Charoen Krung Road. There are many small streets and alleys full of shops and vendors selling all types of goods. It has been the main centre for trading by the Chinese community since they moved from their old site some 200 years ago. Nearby Phahurat or Indian market. Yaowarat Road is also famous for many varieties of delicious foods, and become foods street in the night.
Chinatown is located in one of the oldest areas of Bangkok. It was set up by Chinese traders who came in junks to trade with Thailand (Siam) during the Rattanakosin period, around the 18th century. By the end of 1891, King Rama V had ordered the construction of many roads, including Yaowarat Road. Chinatown does not consist of only Yaowarat Road, but also includes others such as: Charoen Krung Road, Mungkorn Road, Songwat Road, Songsawat Road, Chakkrawat Road, etc. Yaowarat is the center of the area. The path of the road is said to resemble a dragon's curvy body, making it an auspicious location for business. Visitors can find leading gold shops, garments, textiles, stationery, souvenirs, second-hand parts and equipment, electric goods, computer parts, antiques, imported musical instruments, and local delicacies at a bargain, often at wholesale prices. Year 2003 marked the 111th anniversary of this legendary road.
Land prices around Yaowarat Road traditionally been the priciest in Bangkok and Thailand, but now become the second most expensive after the land around famous shopping centers complex of Siam Square.
Golden Buddha and Wat Tramit
Officially titled Phra Phuttha Maha Suwan Patimakon, is the world's biggest solid gold statue. It is located in the temple of Wat Traimit, Bangkok (district of Samphanthawong, in Chinatown), Thailand.
In the early 1930s, reconstruction works in the banks of the Chao Phraya river near Chinatown required the destruction of an old abandoned temple that housed a stucco-painted gold statue of Buddha. Despite the fact that the statue was not so attractive, its destruction was not an option. Thus it was decided to move it to Wat Traimit, a pagoda of minor relevance (like hundreds of other Buddhist temples that exist in Bangkok), keeping the statue in Chinatown. The temple didn't have a building big enough to house the statue, so it was kept for 20 years under a simple tin roof.
In 1955 a new building was built and the monks decided to install the statue inside it. A crane was supposed to move the statue carefully, but a cable broke and the statue fell in the mud, an event that was seen as a bad omen by the workers, who ran away from the place, leaving the statue on the soil. It was the rainy season and, as for confirming the bad omen, a terrible storm came and it lasted the whole night, flooding the whole city.
At the dawn of the next day, the abbot of the temple came to evaluate the damage and started removing the mud. He observed that the wet plaster was cracked and under it was a statue made of solid gold.
It is thought that the statue came from Ayutthaya and it was disguised under plaster to hide it from the Burmese, who were besieging the city. After being moved to Bangkok, its true composition was forgotten for almost 200 years.
The statue is 3 metres (9.8 ft) tall and weights 5.5 tonnes (5.4 LT; 6.1 ST). It is made in the Sukhothai Dynasty style, and is thought to have been made during the Sukhothai period in the 13th century, though it could have been made after that time. The statue was housed in a wat in Ayutthaya until mid 19th century, and its provenance from Ayutthaya excludes the possibility of it having been made after about 1750.
The Buddha is represented in the traditional pose of Bhumisparshamudra (touching the earth with the right hand to witness Shakyamuni Buddha's enlightenment at Bodh Gaya). The original statues of Sukhothai sit on a common pedestal form. The flame that crowns the ushnisha is an innovation of Sukhothai that symbolises the splendour of spiritual energy. The line of the hairdressing forms a "V" shape in the root of the hairs, underlined by the elegant curve of the eyebrows that join above the aquiline nose, all according to the prescribed rules. The three wrinkles in the neck and the much elongated ear lobes, signs of his former status of prince, also form part of the code, as do the wide shoulders and the chest inflated with inspiration.
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Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum